Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Utah Savage is Bad in a Group

I believe almost every little thing is political. And in group therapy with a bunch of other people my age in Utah I am a badass.

I do not fit into a group here because I am the only atheist in any given group in Utah. And it really does inform my world view. I am probably the only person in any group of ten my age in Utah who knows what Prop 8 is, and I am certainly the only one in any given group who is pissed off about it. Because of my age and my mental illness, I am put in a group of other older people, and at least 75% of them are Mormon and they are in favor of Prop 8, once it's been explained to them. This just pisses me off more, so when someone asks me why does this effect me, I say, "Let's say, for instance, that I'm gay, and I'm in love with my partner, and she lives in California, and we want to get married. Why is it okay for the Mormon Church to pump $500 million into passing a constitutional amendment in California that says I can't marry the person I love, because I'm gay? Why does my being gay make me less a citizen then anyone else?" And I'm ready to take the room on in a theoretical argument about civil rights. They are baffled about my anger. They do not get it at all. I haven't completely lied, but I have misled them. I have shocked the old folks into near silence. I'm not really very nice. I just hate most people. I'm ready for a debate and we don't have time for that, and it's not our purpose here. And I know it. So yes, I am a badass.

There were two lovely black women in the group, and I liked them immediately. How racist is that. Surprise, surprise. Of course I would like them. I assume, and correctly, that they will be looking forward to the Inauguration of President Obama. So at least for as long as it takes to establish what I'm looking forward too, we have a bond, and it sets us apart from the rest of the group a bit for a few seconds at least, and I feel I have found the only two other people in the room who get me just a little tiny bit. But like most people, these women are big believers that Christ is their savior and redeemer and when push comes to shove, prayer is the answer. Yawn.

The group "leader" tries to sum things up for this group trying to cope with all kinds of loss and alienation by saying, "Well, as you all know, man is the only creature on this earth who needs others..." and I call bullshit. I say, "We are not the creatures with the biggest brains, nor are we the only animals on the planet with a sophisticated social and family structure." And then it gets a little bit interesting for a minute as one of the black women says "Yeah.. "

I'm a rebel with too many causes. Oh where to begin. The group leader looks at his watch and says, "Well we have to wrap this up..."

I know that the real reason I got sent to group was because I called the office one day last week in tears. I couldn't stop crying. I was sad, real sad. But now I feel pretty perky and smart like the badass I know I am at heart. Oh my. My bad. Naughty, Naughty.

Okay "F", I'll call soon and make an appointment for a one on one. In the meantime you can read how I'm doing on a daily basis if you have the stomach for it.

PS I know the reason I'm sad is more about my associations with Xmas because of my family "dynamic", than it does with Prop 8. I'm not that damn dumb. I also know I'm not that smart either, or I'd be nicer.


nbratscott said...

I don't play nice either!!!

Utah Savage said...

Oh, thank god I'm not alone.

Ghost Dansing said...

how would you feel?

Anonymous said...

The world would like us better if we'd just sit down and shut up, but how would that really make things any better? We know it wouldn't.

I'm glad you're feeling perkier. It's nice when the time in the valley is short.

susan said...

I've been bad tempered and sarcastic in groups all the way back to the Sunday school that expelled me. While the weather was still warm I sat in the cemetery and waited for my Dad to get me. Once it started to get cold I told them what happened.

I do know I'm at my funniest at meetings but my boss prefers I not attend them - fine by me ;-)

Utah Savage said...

Come to think of it I was kicked out of the Brownies.

SaoirseDaily2 said...

I too am an atheist, opinionated, liberal woman and don't make nice in groups of any size. I keep asking where are all those people from the 60's who demonstrated and spoke out? Sometimes I think we are going backwards instead of forward.

Utah - just be who you are - we love you for that!

Linda-Sama said...


honey, when Mr. Linda-Sama and I went to pre-cana (or whatever the hell that's called before you get married in a Catholic church -- hey, I did it for him, not me!), I was thisclose to the priest kicking me out.

fuck him!

Unconventional Conventionist said...

I knew you were going to pull some shit like that when I was talking to you on the phone.

Good on ya!

Whenever I think of Utah Savage I think:

Her Motto: I will NOT be shushed!

Keep on keepin' on.

Beach Bum said...

I know the feeling about being bad in groups, I would be hard pressed to figure out whether Utah or South Carolina is more reactionary about social issues. I've heard some people in this state wondering when the military would arrest President Obama when he exposes his Muslim beliefs. I could go on but I seem to have picked up some sort of stomach bug, it really sucks.

Stella said...

I hope to cheer you up.

Oh, you're not along, Utah: ... the chief end I propose to myself in all my labours is to vex the world rather than divert it... Swift's great.

I decided long ago I would not be silenced, DCup. If we sit down and shut up, the world will be worse. We all have a lot to offer.

SaoirseDaily2, I think (regretfully) you're right. Stay opinionated and liberal. Why shouldn't we be opinionated?

Utah Savage said...

UC, you're back! I was going to write about talking to you, but thought it would seem like bragging and make your other friends jealous.

Beach, so sorry you're sick.

Thank you guys for the solidarity. I do feel very naughty when I'm bad in a group. It's why I don't go to parties. It's also why I'm hard to employ anymore. And I will only see my two friends one at a time.

Stella said...

Normal people are boring. Bipolarity is the malady of the brilliant.

Utah Savage said...

Well then why are there so many boring old bipolar people? Surely they don't get lobotomies when they become Mormon do they? Often they're born Mormon.

anita said...

I agree with Stella, so many of the greatest artists, writers and musicans had bipolar disorder. I think what we call "mental illness" is very often (but, obviously not always) a state of heightened reality that sets one apart from the rest of the world. And, as you well know, severe loneliness and isolation ensues and then you've got the so-called snowball effect.

I can so totally relate to your group therapy situation. Oh my god. I was in group therapy for awhile back in the '90's. And, as for you, there was a massive cultural difference among most of the attendees and me. I don't understand why "age" should be the critera. It really is irrelevant.

But for me, the cultural divide was socio-economic. These "adults" in their 30's and early 40's were constantly complaining about the fact that their mother would only give them money to renovate their kitchen and not their bathroom. Or whether they had access to their trust fund yet. Or any number of rich kid problems. Of course it goes without saying that their parents for were paying for their group therapy, while I was putting myself into debt to be there because I thought it would help.

Then there this guy Gino, a guy from a working class family in Bensonhurst who came from a very traditional Italian Catholic family and he was struggling with even acknowledging that he might be gay and the fact that his father would beat him if he found out.

The other guys in the group, more educated than Gino, having had far more privileged and cosmopolitan lives, could NOT tolerate Gino's struggle with his sexuality. They treated him like he was stupid not to just "come out" despite the fact that Gino clearly explained his very old fashioned family situation.

Then there were the fights I had with "Blair" poor little rich girl having fights with her sisters at their "Montana ranch" over the holidays. How could I ever possibly have one ounce of sympathy for someone who's father got her a VP job at Chase right out college (with a liberal arts degree at that) and whose father paid for her upper east side apartment (which she complained about constantly), while I was living in shit hole in Jackson Heights, Queens, and having guys shot out outside my door on a regular basis and didn't have a rich father to pave MY way in the world???

Anyway, sorry to rant. But seriously, I see no value in group therapy unless the group is carefully chosen to have right combination of similarities and differences, and the differences should not be ones that cause others to feel really bad.

Sorry I haven't been around lately Utah, I've been having my own issues.

anita said...

PS ... I can't find the button push that allows me to become a follower of this blog!! Help!!

gig said...

Being nice rarely gets us women what we want or need....and then we get called "bitches" whereas it's ok for men....it doesn't pay.... I can imagine, Utah, that you would be the life of any party you chose to go to!

Randal Graves said...

You're all a bunch of rebels with various and sundry causes. Though the most rebellious thing would be for Beach Bum to upchuck over one of the many local golf courses right before Hubert J. Bigglesworth, III, Esq. was about to chip on 18.

I don't know how any of you guys manage to get through any group stuff without stabbing people with your pencil. It would drive me nuts-er.

Nan said...

The only thing playing nice ever gets most women is being mistaken for doormats or punching bags (figurative and literal).

I've never gotten the point of group therapy -- maybe because I've never heard anyone say anything good about it. Perhaps there's some value in knowing that other people have problems, too, and possibly trading coping skills, but overall I don't get what benefit comes from sharing the misery.

Linda-Sama said...

nice is for little girls and kittens.

Mauigirl said...

Good for you speaking up for what you believe.

Glad you are feeling perky and cantankerous again! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Whishing you lots of Hope & Change for the New Year!


Utah Savage said...

Thank you CCB!

Stella said...

Thanks, Anita. I think what we call "mental illness" is very often... a state of heightened reality. That's always been my sentiment.

Your comment about trying to relate to people in different socio-economic groups, especially in a therapy session, would drive me insane. The kind of people you describe are the kind of people I just want to slap. These are spoiled brats that may be privileged and educated, but they're neither smart nor compassionate. You and Gino deserved better.

Anita, I saw your avatar on Utah's blog under "Followers." You did it! You can also add the URL to "Blogs I follow." Click on the "Blogs I follow" button on your profile, add the URL in the pop-up window, and save.

I like Nan's and Linda-Sama's comments. The only thing playing nice ever gets most women is being mistaken for doormats or punching bags (figurative and literal). and nice is for kittens and little girls. My kind of women...

I don't know about all of you, but this looks like an interesting book: The Nice Girl Syndrome.

Nan's comment got me to run across this post on "battering myths," but haven't read the comments in depth. So far, it seems like a good read about abuse of "nice girls" from the Women's Rural Advocacy Program.

One of the myths? "Good wives" and "nice girls" don't get battered." Astute observation, Nan. I'd rather be like Randi Rhodes than Laura Bush.

Utah Savage said...

What a fine comments thread this has been. I hope it goes on and on. Stella, you have left me many lessons along the way that have helped me become a better blogger, but I forget to come back and follow through. But this time I will. And I always learn something from you and just when I think I've crossed some so completely uncivilized line, you tell me it's okay. You too Randal. I did mention in Group that I was good in a knife fight. How crazy is that? Jaws dropped. That is just the sort of thing my mother would say. Maybe she had taken over the controls. It was her birthday after all.

yellowdog granny said...

i remember when i was about 4 asking my mother what a smart ass was..and she said why and i said because all my friend parents keep calling me a smart ass..
some things never change..and i am always drawn to other smart asses....

KELSO'S NUTS said...

UTAH: Being one of the more conventional liberal bloggers, I tend not to like controversy.

I guess you could say my work is more characterized by cat pictures and parrotting the New York Times talking points of the day.

On the subject of homophobia, however, I'm a little less timid.

Would you consider "coming out as GAY to protest Rick Warren and Barack Obama's inauguration"? I already have.

Utah Savage said...

Kelso, sure, I'm gay as all get out. Out of the closet and all. Lets all be gay shall we? I'd certainly rather be gay than straight. Straight sounds so damned repressed and boring.

Color me Gay! Merry and Gay. Maybe there's a woman out there named Mary for me. So yes, Kelso, I'm goy, I mean gay.